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London - Andrew's Musings

Am back (briefly) from my trip to London.

It was fun.

I like London. Always have. I wouldn't call it a friendly city but unlike some people who seem to, I don't find it intimidating. Some people look at the tube map and run away in fear. I look at it and see the best way to get from Victoria to Marylebone (Victoria line to Oxford Circus. Chage to the Bakerloo)

So I had fun. Long coach trip from Manchester but I had a book and the mobile has a built in MP3 player.

On Monday I went to the British Library via St Pancras. What they've done to that station is amazing. I was there about 4 or 5 years ago when the West Coast Main line was being relaid so Midland Mainline (now East Midland I think) were running trains from Manchester via Sheffield into St Pancras. They'd just stared or were preparing to start the building work about then. It was not a nice place. It felt unwelcoming. It was old and tatty, nothing more than a huge engine shed.

And now, it is just wonderful just to look around. Clean and airy and light thanks to the wonderful glass roof and I love the huge station clock on the wall. And as for the Lover's, as I believe the big statue is called, some people don't like it, but I think it's lovely. Two people meeting each other right under the station clock because that's where you always meet someone. The transformation is such that if I didn't know, I wouldn't beleive it was the same place.

The British Library was fantastic. They've currently got an exhibition called Taking Liberties about people rights and democracy.  The exhibition includes some fascinating documents including of course Magna Carta and Charles I's death warrant. But they also have the earliest known version of Beowulf, an extract from a Shakespeare play in his hand and some of Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks.

Then went to the National Gallery where my  highlight was Joseph Wright of Derby's An Experiment on A Bird in the ASirpum on which Kidby based the cover for Science of Discowrld. It was wierd bcause it looked familiar yet so different at tehs ame time. In it's own right, it's an amzing apinting. The way Wright has captured the light and shadow is genius

Then it was the National Portrait Gallery which was fascinating. I've always been intrested in History so it was fun putting faces to names I'd read in history book or heard on TV programmes

Then in the evening I went to see the musical Wicked. I honestly didn't know what to expect as I'd never been to a West End show before. I was blown away. Wicked is simply.... Wicked.  Only trouble is Kerry Ellis's American accent for Elphaba reminded me strongly of someone and it had me tossing and turning trying to remember who. I've figured it out now.  It was reminsicent (for me at least) of esmeraldus_neo  So now I'm imagining esmeraldus_neo  as the Wicked Witch of the West! I think green would suit her

Tuesday, I wnet to a lovely old fashioned sweetshop I know in Soho, walked up Whitehall to see all the guvmint buildings then walked up the Embankment to London Bridge and the Monument which had just been re-opened, then bank along the Thames path to the Millenium Footbridge and then I went for a boat ride. Then I hurried back to Victoria for my coach.

Today, I've mostly relaxed but did out to Manchester Art Gallery as they've an exhibition of 10 Da Vinci drawings. As they are so old they are very rarely exhibited. They are masterpieces. Most of them are quite small. Studies of faces, anatomy ,of plants and animals - reflecting Da Vincis wide range of interests. All are wonderfully detailed and observed, each of them a jewel in itself. If you live anywhere near Manchester  you must come and see these.  I was also pleased to see that my 'girlfriend' has returned  Rosetti's Astarte Syriaca is back on display - it's been absent for some time. It's my favourite painting - although the "Experiment" is challenging strongly. But that's in London and as long as they don't move her again i can see my girlfriend at anytime.

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